Local charity needs snowboard gear 

The Whistler-based charity Zero Ceiling is looking for donations of new or barely used snowboarding gear for its newest apprentices.

The charity, which was founded by pro-skier/writer Chris Winter, brings at-risk street youth from Vancouver and introduces them to the snowboard instructor program at Whistler-Blackcomb.

With the interviews of potential candidates complete, all that remains is to choose six youths that will take the intensive weeklong instructor’s program during the first week of December.

"We are looking for youth that are clean, able to snowboard and rise up to the challenge," said Greg McDonnell, a Zero Ceiling board member and youth outreach worker for Whistler Community Services Society.

"There’s no doubt that it takes guts to make this change but this is an incredible opportunity for them."

If they pass the training week they will then have the opportunity to move to Whistler-Blackcomb staff housing, shadow more snowboarding lessons and eventually start working as an instructor at the snowboard school.

"The transition isn’t easy going from sleeping in doorways to working for a corporation and teaching tourists how to snowboard in North America’s number one resort," said Joanna Woods, Zero Ceiling’s programs manager.

"But with a lot of thought and hard work we have devised a program that is definitely working."

In the past five years 26 youth have participated in the Zero Ceiling program. A dozen have ended up working and living in Whistler and many stay in the community throughout the year.

For donations of new or barely used snowboards, boots, bindings and clothing for the upcoming graduates call Joanna at 604-932-6869.

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